Subject: Worst appears over for Hat Yai
Thu, November 04, 2010 01:00 AM
- Article extracted from Bangkok Post
Hat Yai is starting to bounce back from the overwhelming floods as the drainage system built under a royal project after the devastation of 2000 clears the main commercial areas more quickly than expected.
Mr Veera said relief efforts must be focused on low-lying areas where two metres of water is still being recorded.
Thaweejit Chandrasakha, president of the Association of Siamese Architects, said the flash flood in Hat Yai was largely due to unprecedented heavy rainfall, not because of the failure of the drainage system.
Water flow in Hat Yai this year was up to 1,623 cubic metres per second compared to 970cm/sec in 2000, according to the irrigation office.
Mr Thaweejit said the growth and expansion of the town had contributed to the inundation with shophouses and buildings obstructing the run-off.
He said Hat Yai's current city plan expires at the end of this year and a new city plan will need to take into account the expansion.
Mr Thaweejit suggested the development of canals and "monkey's cheeks", or water retention areas, would help drain water and prevent flooding in the downtown area.
As the water recedes, residents and tourists who were trapped in their homes and hotels for almost 48 hours were able to move around yesterday to get food and other supplies.
Preparations to clean up the city have already begun and the situation is expected to return to normal in a few days if there is no more rainfall.
Rescue operations are continuing in the inner area of Hat Yai Nai where several communities are still under 2m of water.
Armoured vehicles and marine landing craft, rubber dinghies and water scooters have been used in the rescue operation.
Food is being prepared at several locations including Prince of Songkla University for distribution to those stranded in their homes.
Several thousand people who are still trapped have been trying to get drinking water, food, painkillers, candles, matches and lighters. Some parts of the city are likely to be out of power and water supplies for at least three days.
Torrential rains since Monday caused by a depression in the Gulf of Thailand unleashed a flash flood on Hat Yai, covering the entire municipality with mud-brown water. Many areas were engulfed by as much as three metres of water.
Police Region 9 is stepping up surveillance to prevent looting after the flood water recedes.
The deluge, which hit other districts of Songkhla, claimed at least eight lives, including a family of five in Singha Nakhon district who were killed in a landslide.
Two people were killed in Hat Yai and one in Muang district.
Besides Hat Yai, districts of Na Thawee in Sadao were also hit by severe flooding.
In 20 upper provinces of Thailand, ravaged by storms and floods over the past two weeks, the death toll has been put at 107.